November 22, 2010

Squash Looks to Climb in Rankings

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It’s official. The leaves have fallen off the trees, Uggs have begun to make appearances around campus and the libraries are filling up as students anxiously cram for finals. In other words, it is time for the Cornell squash season to begin.

Both the men’s and women’s teams, under coaches Mark and Julee Devoy, performed well last year at the  championship matches. The men’s team came in sixth — its seed going into the tournament — and the women’s team finished seventh. Although the teams were somewhat disappointed with these results, they are optimistic about the upcoming season.

Last year, both teams graduated several players without whom the Red will have to carry on. From the women’s team, Maxi Prinsen, Liza Stokes, Becca Hazell, Jen Chu and Annie Ritter all graduated in 2010. Chris Vernick ’10 and former senior captain Chris Sachvie ’10 no longer grace the men’s roster. However, Sachvie’s younger brother, Nick, has taken his place as No. 1 on the men’s roster this year.

“Yes, we lost our senior captain. Chris was a big part of our team but Nick is working hard to make up for the lost talent,” said senior Amar Gupta.

Also joining the Red this year is freshman Bryan Keating for the men’s team, while the women welcome freshmen Laura Caty, Jessenia Pacheco, Kristin Scillia and sophomores Julia Steck and Sydney Chiris.

With this new composition, the dynamic of the team is definitely different.

“All the freshmen are adjusting really well to the college squash experience,” Laird said. “The returning team has been really welcoming to the new players. We are all really excited for them to be a part of our team.”

This year, senior co-captains McKay Claghorn and Pat Brady will lead the men’s team, while junior Lauren Sachvie and senior Jen Gemmell will captain the women’s team. Both the men and women are looking to improve upon their results from last year.

“We are hoping for a Top-5 finish this season,” Gupta said.

The Red just returned from Ivy scrimmages this weekend, where the team got a good look at its competition in the upcoming season.

“It was nice to get some games under our belt before the actual season starts,” said sophomore Jaime Laird. “It’s always good to go into it having had some preparation so that we know what to expect.”

Cornell will officially begin its season on Dec. 4, when it will host Ancient Eight rival Harvard at the Belkin International Squash Courts. The team feels a home match will prove to be an advantage.

“Being able to play our first official match at home is great for us,” Laird said. “Our fans are always really supportive which can sometimes give us that extra motivation we need to win.”

Original Author: Katie Schubauer